Adbert Alzolay was not quite right last night, with his control way off. He hadn’t walked more than three guys in a start before last night when he walked five in just three innings of work. After the game, we learned that Alzolay was dealing with a blister on his middle finger, which could easily have been throwing him off.
Alzolay seems to believe the blister, which was impacting him almost from the jump last night, and is probably your main explanation for the command issues (and late velocity drop), is really the only issue going on.
“Everything else is is good,” Alzolay said after the game, per NBCSC. “Arm, body, everything is feeling good. It’s just the blister that got me today …. In the second inning, I started feeling it the most. And then I just keep pitching like that. I was like, ‘Well, now execute pitches, and let’s get this going. I know it’s not your best day, but let’s see what we can do with it.” Alzolay admitted he’d started to feel the blister a bit in his last outing, too. They are so annoying and they can be a multi-start issue, but at least it’s not an elbow or a shoulder or whatever.
The Cubs drained the blister after the game, but it’s not yet known if this will require an interruption of his normal throwing schedule.
Having already optioned Kohl Stewart in anticipation of either a Trevor Williams or Alec Mills return, it’ll be interesting to see what the Cubs opt to do with the rotation this turn through. There’s an off-day on Thursday that would’ve let the Cubs skip a starter anyway, though I don’t know how eager you are to do this year when you can avoid it. A short Injured List trip for Alzolay, though, could allow him to miss just one start, recovering from the blister fully and also resting a bit in a long season when he’s being asked to take such a huge step forward in workload. The IL move would also open up a spot to return not only Mills or Williams (who was presumably going to replace a position player, since Jake Marisnick took Stewart’s spot) but maybe also a guy like Justin Steele (hamstring), who can give you multiple innings and help cover a bullpen game if it came to that.
That is all to say, suddenly there are a lot of moving parts in the relationship between the rotation, the bullpen, and the Injured List. But, hey, what else is new?